10 of the best beaches on the planet

Whether you are looking for a private patch of perfect sand, the best seaside party or a beach you can even enjoy in the rain, our round-up of the best beaches on the planet has something for everyone. If you know of some great beaches too, then feel free to add them in the comments at the end.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Whitehaven Beach is a seven-kilometre swirl of aqua water and pristine silica sand on Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 Whitsunday Islands, off the coast of Queensland Australia. A paradise for swimming, sailing and snorkelling, when Tourism Queensland ran a contest to find a caretaker based on neighbouring Hamilton Island they aptly called it ‘The Best Job In The World’.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Praia Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande, Brazil

The remote Praia Lopes Mendes on Brazil’s Ilha Grande (150km southwest of Rio de Janeiro) has sand so fine it squeaks when you walk on it. There are no vehicles on Ilha Grande so to reach Praia Lopes you must either take a 3-hour trek through the jungle, or you can get a boat from the main tourist resort, Abraão. The endless beach is a popular spot for surfers and widely considered the best beach in Brazil. But remember to bring your own refreshments, as there are no permanent cafes or restaurants based there.

Praia Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande, Brazil

Grand Anse Beach, Grenada

Grand Anse is a long, sweeping cove of golden sand backed by green hills and candy-coloured Grenadian homes. The beach has a typical laid-back Caribbean vibe which is popular with both tourists and locals and is a starting point for trips to popular dives sites around the island. Grenada is also home to the world’s first underwater sculpture park. The various statues, including cyclists on bikes and the new ‘Christ of the deep’ are certainly not something you regularly see under the sea.

Grand Anse Beach, Grenada

Long Beach, Ko Lanta, Thailand

When it comes to perfect beaches you are spoilt for choice in Thailand, particularly around the Southern Islands. Long Beach on Ko Lanta offers just the right mix of never-ending coastline, relaxed Thai eateries and a sprinkling of spa resorts, without all the crowds you will typically find on nearby beaches in Ko Phi Phi and Krabi.

Long Beach, Ko Lanta, Thailand

Navagio, Zakynthos, Greece

Many will be familiar with the image of Navagio Beach in Greece but may not know it hides on the island of Zakynthos. The cliff-surrounded cove and deep blue waters regularly feature on picture postcards because of the unexpected shipwreck – left behind by smugglers fleeing the authorities – that rests onshore.

Navagio, Zakynthos, Greece

White Beach, Borocay Island, Philippines

The 7000+ islands of the Philippines are home to more than their fair share of the world’s best beaches. Borocay has made a name for itself over the last few years as a bit of party island due to the number of beach bars and reasonably priced resorts in the area. The idyllic 5km White Beach has more than enough space for everyone though, so there is always a quiet spot to retreat too when you are ready to relax. Kite surfers love it here too.

White Beach, Borocay Island, Philippines

Blue Lagoon, Yasawa Islands, Fiji

The Yasawa Island off the coast of Fiji are a string of blissful beaches all in a row. Towards the northern tip of the Yasawa chain is Blue Lagoon, a beach resort that comes with shallow, warm waters and a close relationship to the local culture. Guests to the island are encouraged to visit the local schools and meet the community during their stay, as well as taking boat trips to the locations of the film by the same name. The Yasawas have also appeared in popular TV shows in the UK, including ITV’s Celebrity Love Island, which was filmed on Bounty Island, and the popular Channel 4 show Shipwrecked.

Blue Lagoon, Yasawa Islands, Fiji

South Beach, Miami, USA

There are a number of incredible wide, white beaches in Florida that could have made this list but South Beach offers more than sugar white sand and sunshine, it is a world-class spot for people watching. Don’t be surprised to find dogs in sunglasses, A-list celebrities and super-fit rollerbladers parading along Ocean Drive at any time of day. The area’s Art Deco architecture is also worth checking out, many of the sorbet-coloured hotels along the beach have been restored to their former glory.

South Beach, Miami, USA

Anse Source d’Argent,La Digue, Seychelles

The picture perfect islands of the Seychelles are what many consider to be paradise, include royalty – Kate and Wills honeymooned there. The romantic pink-sand beach of Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue is a newlyweds’ dream. Offshore reefs provide protection from the waves and make it perfect for bathing and nature lovers will enjoy trying to spot giant tortoises. As the Seychelles can be reached via a direct flight from Johannesburg, they are perfect for combining with a South African safari.

Anse Source d'Argent, La Digue, Seychelles

Hot Water Beach, New Zealand

Hot Water is a beach with a difference. It makes this list not for its unmatched beauty but for the unique experience you can enjoy here. Situated in an area of volcanic activity in New Zealand’s North Island, Hot Water Beach has exactly that – hot water. An underground river of hot water flows just below the surface of the sand, if you dig a hole you can seat yourself in your very own natural spa pool. The warm sand and hot water pools mean you can enjoy this beach at any time of year – even during the rain.

Hot Water Beach, New Zealand

Paul Shipway is Business Development Director at Simply Luxury Holidays.

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Comments (21)

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  1. Cath says:

    We shot our men’s jewellery range on location beyond Station 1 on White Beach on Boracay. It’s stunning, and at Station 1 still fairly unspoilt. The ShangriLa is the best hotel on the island but doesn’t have the beach. Worth a visit before it’s ruined. For a stunning Filipino beach without the partying backpackers, try Amanpulo’s private island.

  2. Jay says:

    So many great places to visit in the world!! Boracay might be a bit of a let down these days though, I’ve been there recently and it’s not as good as it was before.

  3. Bouchra Bennis says:

    I was disappointed to see that Kaputas Beach in the Antalya region of Turkey did not make it to the top 10. It one amazing beach and one of my ultimate favorites…

  4. Irene says:

    I’ve just been to Long Beach, Ko Lanta, Thailand, and I have to say, it’s amazing!

    Hope to see all the other beaches one day :D

  5. Anastasia says:

    Messinia in SW Peloponnese Greece has a peninsula full of unspoilt, undiscovered long sandy beaches, with shallow clean turquoise seas, in an area undiscovered by mass tourism, that in fact could never fit.

    Wide flat roads with impossibly gorgeous coastal views.

    The motorway from Athens has been upgraded all the way to Kalamata and will extend down to Kalamata Airport.

    For the first time in 2013, Russia and Tel Aviv Israel had direct flights into Kalamata Airport.

  6. Pablo says:

    Very nice places!!! I would suggest also Kardamena Beach at the Kos Island in Greece, with its lovely naturist area. Also Cala Montgó in L’Escala (Spanish Costa Brava) is a fantastic place for swimming and having sun bath.

  7. Erika says:

    Wow such absolutely stunning photographs. Thanks for this collection. I have been wanting to see some luxury travel blogs to balance out the “travel on a shoestring” travel blogs that I’ve mostly been reading. Sometimes I go way low budget and sometimes I go five star all the way. Thanks for the info :)

  8. Martina says:

    Praia Lopes Mendes, Ilha Grande, Brazil is stunning but be careful… It has very strong rip currents so be wary when swimming. I’m a strong swimmer but got pulled very far out and needed to be rescued by two lifeguards here a few years ago.

  9. Ron says:

    Although it is a lot warmer in the Whitsundays than in Victoria one of my most favorite beaches was at Wilsons Promontory the most southern tip of mainland Australia. Because it is in a national park there is only camping facilities but the beach at Tidal River is a really pristine beach. The Prom offers spectacular scenery of huge granite mountains, open forest, rainforest, sweeping beaches and coastlines.

  10. Robynwebb says:

    I loved loved loved Whitehaven beach and I live in Miami in the winter, so South Beach still is a goodie! Gotta get to the others

  11. John says:

    nice beaches,but There are alot of amazing beaches you can find out in Lombok Indonesia such as Gili Trawangan,Kuta Lombok beach,Mawun,Gili Nanggu,and GiliKedis many more..

  12. Pedro says:

    Interesting list! I was in Brazil recently and visited Ilha Grande. Lopes Mendes beach is really with the long trek!

  13. Mat says:

    I can vouch for Boracay being awesome. I lived there for a while. The crowds and development is getting a bit much but you do have the option of quieter places like Shangri La in the north, or Station 1 (north end of White Beach) is where many of the luxury hotels are located and it is quieter than Station 2.

    I love the Yasawa Islands in Fiji too. We had to take a sea plane to our island resort which was quite an experience. No problem avoiding the crowds in this part of the world.

  14. Kerry says:

    What! The Jersey Shore didn’t make the list! Just kidding, they all look amazing. I haven’t been to any of the beaches listed.

  15. Bryan Hoare says:

    Matira Beach in Bora Bora – azure water, white sand, warm loveliness!… Cholos Beach in Zanzibar – laid back, fun, sexy!… Freedom Beach in Phuket – great food, not far from “the action” in Patong, getting away from the madness for a bit! Best beach ever – I found it in Bora Bora, it din’t have a name – it was about 20ft long and only there at low tide, but it was MY beach for a few hours every time I had a day off (working there) – PERFECT!

  16. Kristin says:

    St John US Virgin Islands — pick any of the over 30 beaches and you would be in heaven. Silky white sand turquoise waters, and privacy!

  17. John says:

    Gorgeous. I love beaches. One of my favorites is Playa Colorado in the Dominican Republic, which is actually like a reddish/orange sand. Playa Rincon nearby is also amazing.

  18. Nestor says:

    Australia must be a beautiful country, but best beaches I think are located in the Caribbean. There are quite a few resorts in Cuba like Varadero, Cayo Coco and Cayo Santa Maria you might wanna try.

  19. Thomas says:

    There are many spectacular beaches on the planet, and it is time consuming to try and pick the best as many offer unique views, conditions and experiences. But your list does help save time. Nice pictures too!

  20. Peter Parker says:

    Really, these beaches are nice; but I think there should be more inclusion to some of the best beaches in Fiji and Maldives. They are really awesome.

  21. I also would add Koh Lipe to this list. It is located in Southern Thailand. I spent 6 days last March in there. It is absolutely magical. Definitely recommend to anyone. Thank you for this great list.

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